Some people seem to jump into any new activity with confidence and boldness. If you’re anything like me, this isn’t the case. You face every new activity – like learning English – with anxiety and apprehension. This fear may be so strong that you avoid speaking in front of others, or showcasing your English in any way. So how can you get over this fear? Let’s discuss a few ways.
Talk to Yourself
You may find this a strange tip – how can you get over your fear of speaking to others if you’re only talking to yourself? I recently wrote a blog post about how you can improve your English by talking to yourself, I recommend that you check it out. Talking to yourself is a great way to practice your pronunciation. The more you say a word, the more natural it will begin to sound. Ultimately, you’ll feel more comfortable using the English language and this will translate over well when you’re speaking to another person.
Another great benefit of practicing English with yourself is that you don’t have the added pressure of talking in front of other people. Sometimes having conversations with another English speaker can be daunting. But when you talk to yourself, you don’t have the added stress, and you’ll feel more comfortable speaking.
Take the Lead
Often times when we feel nervous about talking to others in English, it’s because we fear they’ll talk too fast or talk about things that we don’t know how to respond with. This is why it’s great to take the lead! It’s been proven that people will subconsciously mirror what you’re doing, especially if they want to get to know you or make you happy. So if you speak in a slow and clear way, they will do the same. If you talk about a subject you feel comfortable with, they will most likely try to keep up with the conversation. You might feel less anxious if you have more ‘control’ over the conversation.
You can never go wrong when you smile! People almost always respond positively to a smile – and it makes having conversations a little easier!
Practice speaking English as often as you can. Even if you can only handle having one small English conversation a day – like asking how your mailman is doing or saying hi to the person bagging your groceries – push yourself to try. It doesn’t have to be a long or an in-depth conversation. But it’s important that you at least try to practice your English with someone every day. You could even try an online language exchange. Keep in mind that one-on-one conversations are much easier to have than participating in a group.
When you’re starting to learn a language, listening is very important – mostly because you probably won’t understand every word or even sentence expressed. Listen to different English media forms like television, podcasts or songs. You could even listen to everyday English conversations. You can improve your vocabulary, pronunciation, and comprehension through listening alone.
Get over your fear of being perfect. Nobody is perfect, and you will make many mistakes. But that’s okay! Learning a language can be very difficult, and most people are often quite hard on themselves. They degrade themselves for every small mistake they make, and, as a result, their self-confidence goes in the gutter, so to speak. But the best way to improve, and continually see improvements, is to keep your self-confidence up and accept that you’re not perfect. With anything, the more you practice, the better you will become. The better you become, the more confident you feel. The more confident you feel, the more you will be motivated to keep going, and the sky will be the limit for you. Before you know it, speaking English will feel very natural to you.
Have you tried any of these tips? What helps you to get over your fears? Let me know in the comments below!